If you are a budding entrepreneur in Nigeria and you are yet to apply for the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) grant of $5,000, here is a timely reminder to apply ASAP.
Be honest, what would $5,000 do for your business?
Would it help you finally build the app for your business? Or help you hire the right team? Or help you secure that big contract? Or help you purchase that very important equipment for your business?
There are so many things that $5,000 can do for any serious entrepreneur in Nigeria. $5,000 is about 1.8 million Naira if converted using the CBN rate. Now, imagine getting 1.8 million Naira for free to fund your business.
Just imagine that.
In Africa and especially Nigeria, it is hard to come by free 1.8 million Naira to run your business. You’d either have to put up a collateral or give some equity to get that amount of fund for your business.
So, if you were thinking that the 2021 TEF $5,000 grant isn’t for you, please think again! If you have a viable business idea that can make money and employ people, and you are able to communicate that idea so that someone else can understand it, then you should apply for the 2021 TEF grant.
I’ve spoken to many entrepreneurs in Nigeria about this grant, but many of them are not confident of their chances of getting the grant, hence their lack of interest. The prevailing reason for not applying is either that they haven’t heard about it, or they don’t believe they would get it,or they do not know how to apply.
If you are in that group, at least now you’ve heard about it. And if you have a viable business idea and can communicate it, then you stand a chance to win the 2021 TEF grant. So, what else? You need to know how to apply.
So, let’s get down to it.
Applying For The 2021 TEF Grant
To apply for the 2021 TEF grant, simply go to tefconnect.net and register. That is the essential first step.
Once you’ve signed up on the website, complete your profile on the “About” section of your account. It is important to fill in the details on every section. I’ve seen some profiles that didn’t bother to fill in all the sections. They just filled in their names and bio, and that’s it. Some people didn’t even bother to upload a profile image.
Complete Your Profile
It is better to make your profile as complete as possible so as to help the organizers know more about you and trust you enough to give you the grant.
Here are the sections you should fill in the “About” section:
- Short Bio
- Business Details
- Achievements or past projects
- Areas I need mentoring on
The details you fill in this section will be automatically evaluated and would partly determine what category you would be placed in the TEF training.
Take The Assessment Test
Once you are done with your profile, head over to the applications tab and click on the “2021 TEF flagship programme” tab. You will be required to take a test, which is a combination of GMAT and psychometric test.
To take this test assessment, make sure you are in a convenient environment where you can focus and do the test to the best of your ability.
Once you are done with the assessment test, you would be categorized based on your performance as well as your profile details.
Here are the four categories that applicants are classified in.
- Prep Category: This means you do not have the skill set needed to start a business. You will go through the general training on TEFConnect. You will, however, not be eligible for mentorship or seed capital.
- Start-up Category: This means you are a starter according to the business start-up profiling. You will go through the beginner training modules and you will have access to world class mentors during the programme.
- Innovator Category: This means that you have been profiled to be an intermediate entrepreneur. You have a good potential to be a successful entrepreneur. You will go through the Intermediate training modules and you will have access to world class mentors during the programme.
- Disruptor Category: This means that you have been identified to be natural or a seasoned entrepreneur. You will go through the Advanced training modules and you will have access to world class mentors during the programme.
Once you have been categorized, you will have to wait till the application closes by March 31st 2021. After that, you will be contacted on how to go about the training.
The TEF general training would be conducted mostly online according to your category and complemented with peer-to-peer discussions. So, you would need access to a laptop or desktop computer to complete this phase.
After each training module, you will be required to answer some multiple choice questions about what you have learned and you will be graded. Your performance in answering the questions would determine if you would go on to the next phase.
For those who are categorized in the Start-up, Innovator, and Disruptor categories, a mentor would be assigned to you to guide your business and probably help you tap into their network.
Business Plan Documentation
After successfully passing through the training, you will be required to document your business plan using a Q&A template that would be provided. So, you don’t need to crack your brain too much about writing your business plan. Simply answer the questions in the template and you would have written your business plan.
The business plan, once completed, would be uploaded on the Document Management System (DMS) available on the TEFconnect portal.
Note that only those that performed well in their module evaluation quiz would have access to the DMS on their profiles. If you don’t have access to the DMS, then it means that you’re not qualified for the Business Plan phase of the program.
If you have scaled through the online training and completed your business plan, you will be required to meet face-to-face with a panel of judges to pitch your business. In this phase, you will be drilled on different aspects of business and your leadership quality will be evaluated.
If you pass through this phase, you would become a fellow of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and be awarded a grant of $5,000 or its equivalent in Naira.
How To Improve Your Chances Of Winning
The fact is that only those entrepreneurs that are prepared and willing to go the mile would win the 2021 TEF grant of $5,000. You can’t game the system this year, as it has become more rigorous so that only the right entrepreneurs are awarded.
But you can improve your chances of winning the TEF grant by doing a few things right. You have to be the right entrepreneur with the right business if you want to win the $5,000 TEF grant this year.
Here are a few things you can do:
Have A Functional Business
To improve your chances of winning the 2021 TEF grant, you should have a functional business and not just an idea. I believe if you have a business that is already running and you just need funds to scale up, you would easily get the TEF grant.
But this is not to say that you cannot get the TEF grant with just an idea. It’s just that your idea would have to be exceptional and you would have to beat the large competition of people with only ideas.
So, while you can apply for the 2021 TEF grant with an idea or a business that is established not more than 3 years, you have a better chance of getting the grant with an established business.
Know Some Rudiments Of Business
In this year’s application, your business knowledge and attitude will be tested rigorously. So, you need to know your onions. You cannot copy your way to the grant or get someone to help you.
You have to know your business and know how to communicate it. The assessment test and the multiple choice questions will test you on every area of business and determine if you are a good fit to get the grant.
So, you need to know some rudiments of business and be willing to show that you know it.
Put Some Effort Into Your Application
To improve your chance of winning the 2021 TEF grant, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort into your application. That means being available to take the test, finding time to go through the training and answer the multiple choice questions, be available to communicate with your mentor, etc.
You have to show that you are dedicated to improving your business and yourself as an entrepreneur. Your mentor needs to see that you are dedicated to the cause. If you only provide a half-hearted effort, your mentor might not recommend you for the grant.
Also, your mentor could be an investor or have a network of investors who are looking for businesses to invest in. Your dedication and effort may just open bigger doors of opportunities for your business.
Apart from knowing about your business and having a strong entrepreneurship drive, you have to be confident about your business and your chances to win the TEF grant.
The judges want to see a confident entrepreneur that can show his or her leadership qualities in business. You have to be confident and transmit that confidence in a way that the judges believe you are worth getting the grant.